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Emerson’s suspension is a blessing in disguise for Spurs

Tottenham Hotspur were outfought and outplayed as Antonio Conte’s side succumbed to defeat in the north London derby on Saturday afternoon.

There were times that Spurs looked dangerous on the counter and they could have easily put another one or two goals in the Arsenal net before the break but the second half was a complete disaster, summed up by Emerson Royal’s mindless red card.

He lunged in at Gabriel Martinelli, who looked to have broken away from the Brazilian right-back, and it was more foolish than malicious. A stud-up tackle, quite high on the ankle, was always ending one way.

From that point onwards, the Gunners only asserted their dominance as they ran away with it, ending the game 3-1 to extend their lead atop the Premier League table.

For all of the doom and gloom, though, that moment of madness may well have been a blessing in disguise for the Italian.

Who should start in Emerson's absence?







It now means he is forced into a change at right wing-back as the 23-year-old is set to miss the next three domestic matches, which are against a red-hot Brighton and Hove Albion, an unbeaten-in-six Everton and a resurgent Manchester United.

Spurs could well benefit from a change in the role, even if Emerson was available, as he has proven to be a “complete liability” defensively, as described by ex-Lilywhites midfielder Jamie O’Hara after Saturday’s game, and his attacking credentials – a key attribute in what Conte wants from his wing-backs – have been more than questionable after just three goal contributions in 51 appearances.

That much has been known since the Italian arrived in the dugout last November – by the new year, reports surfaced suggesting that the 53-year-old was unconvinced by his options and wanted an upgrade.

“Royal is just a complete liability,” O’Hara told talkSPORT. “Every single week we play him, he makes mistakes. I don’t care how much money he’s spent on trying to make himself a better footballer, he’s not good enough to play for Tottenham. It’s like having [Serge] Aurier back in the team. He’s just a mistake waiting to happen.”

Indeed, this incident brings into question the extraordinary story that the former FC Barcelona man has spent ‘nearly £1m’ on improving his game behind the scenes.

It does mean that Conte will have to turn to either Matt Doherty or summer signing Djed Spence, who is an exciting young talent that seems primed for this sort of role under the Italian.

Another possibility is utilising Ivan Perisic on the right, as he did against Leicester City, which would also see Ryan Sessegnon back in the side.

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How well do you know Spurs manager Antonio Conte? Question 1. During his playing days, in which position did Conte typically operate?

Although it’s the 22-year-old, who joined in a £20m deal from Middlesbrough, that could benefit most from Emerson’s suspension as the defender, who was lauded as a “Rolls-Royce” by Arsenal legend Martin Keown, is said to have been worked hard in training in preparation for such an opportunity.

An average of 1.6 interceptions, 1.5 tackles, as well as 1.8 dribbles and one key pass per game in Nottingham Forest‘s promotion run last season (via WhoScored) certainly makes him a wonderful fit to fulfil such a role for Spurs.

Therefore, Emerson’s enforced absence could well lead to improvements on the right wing and as such, Tottenham and Conte could get their season back underway in the way they intended.

AND in other news, Forget Emerson: Conte could unearth his next Hakimi in “promising” 20 y/o Spurs gem

Article title: Emerson’s suspension is a blessing in disguise for Spurs

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